In a unanimous 6-0 vote, the Provo Council on Tuesday rejected a proposed property tax increase of up to 16% of the Provo City general fund, or a 1.4% total property tax increase. Read more about it in the Daily Herald.
I am pleased, relieved and frankly surprised at the outcome of the vote. There are some members of the council who lean toward a tax-and-spend philosophy, but even those members listened to residents and to the state of the economy in general, and voted not to raise taxes at this time.
The proposed tax increase focused on three areas: 1) Public safety (police), 2) economic development (downtown revitalization), and 3) inflation (making up for loss of purchasing power).
Approximately 15 people stood to speak against the tax hike, citing the economic downturn, existing bonding debt and timing as reasons the council should reject the increase at this time. Only one resident stood to support the increase.
The issues that prompted the council to suggest an increase are still present, and another tax increase will likely be proposed next year. It is important to note that the Mayor proposed a balanced budget that included 3 new police officers, with no tax increase. A study is currently under way to discern how many additional officers the Provo Police force needs, and this study will help the council determine if a tax increase for public safety is necessary (and if so, exactly how much of an increase is required).